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Atomic Scientist: Vitamin C Could Revolutionize Health Care

Ascorbic Acid or Vitamin C could drastically lower the costs of health care, if a few grams of the vitamin daily were provided to everyone, from children to elders, says a 99-year-old atomic scientist who has tried it out for himself. The argument is sound. Effects of the vitamin are many and overwhelmingly positive.

The Vitamin C Foundation, which first published the open letter of Theodore P. Jorgensen, says that cardiovascular death rates dropped drastically after vitamin C started to be used in high doses by large numbers of people, especially after the publication of Linus Pauling's popular book "Vitamin C and the Common Cold".

This seems to be one of the great insanities of our health system. The official recommendation for daily vitamin C consumption is on the order of 60 to 90 milligrams, while our need by all indications far exceeds that quantity - perhaps by as much as two orders of magnitude. Jorgensen, in his excellent letter, explains why lack of adequate amounts of vitamin C in our diet may be the single most important factor determining ill health.


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"... a free supply of ascorbic acid to every person would lower the cost of health care in a major way ..." - Theodore Jorgensen

Theodore P. Jorgensen
4932 High Street
Lincoln, Nebraska, 68506

Dear Sir or Madam as the case may be,

The easiest thing for me to do is not to write this letter. But if you continue to read it I think you will understand why I have written it. This letter concerns vitally important ideas, probably far more than you can imagine. The calendar tells me that I am in my 99th year ( this is not a misprint ) and I must tell you a few things about myself.

I am a retired physics professor, with a Ph.D. from Harvard. I spent the war years working on the Atomic Bomb at Los Alamos. On my return to teaching, I originated and directed an atomic accelerator project at the University of Nebraska, which continues to be financed to the present time by the Federal Government. I was retired from the University in my 70th year. Since that time my mental activities have been mainly involved with studying the swing of a golf club which allowed me to write a best seller on the Physics of Golf.

I grew up on a subsistence homestead in northwestern South Dakota. The many grasshoppers on the prairie gave my mother the idea that these were prime turkey food. She could get fertile turkey eggs only when her turkeys were fed cod-liver oil. She fed it to her turkeys and also to her five children. Thus at the age of about thirteen years I became interested in nutrition.

Vitamin C was discovered to be ascorbic acid in 1931. Soon chemistry had developed to the stage where this substance could be synthesized. When a supply of pure ascorbic acid could be obtained, this substance was used in medical research. Unfortunately the substance was thought to be a vitamin and since it was known that vitamins were effective in very small amounts, for many years research using ascorbic acid was done using very small amounts of the substance. It took many years before it was discovered that ascorbic acid could be used to produce fabulous results when used correctly in medical and clinical research.

It was discovered that vitamin C was not a poisonous substance when used in the human body. It was also discovered that solutions of ascorbic acid in proper concentrations would kill bacteria and viruses. Happily a patient's blood could, through the proper use of ascorbic acid, be made able to kill them too. The concentration needed in a specific case had of course somehow to be decided.

It was also discovered that most animals produced there own ascorbic acid and that human beings, apes, monkeys, and guinea pigs, could not make any at all. The conclusion of the thinking on this problem was that the animals which could not make ascorbic acid had a genetic defect involving one enzyme which was lost millions of years ago because ascorbic acid was so easy to be obtained in the food then available.

It was early decided that the Recommended Daily Allowance, the RDA, for a healthy human male would be arbitrarily set at the 60 mg per day. The rate chosen for monkeys was substantially larger than that for humans.

The amount of ascorbic acid needed for a man to allow him to have optimum health is of course unknown. Some idea of the amount he should have would be what his body would make if he had this ability. This leads to the consideration of the rate of ascorbic acid made by healthy animals. Such studies have been made and the values range far above those of the current RDA for humans.

Another effect of ascorbic acid must be mentioned. The level of cholesterol in a persons blood varies inversely with the level of the ascorbic acid in the blood. When I learned of this I decided to perform an experiment on myself. My cholesterol level had been running at 240 units for several years. My doctor told me he could give me a drug to lower the cholesterol level but he was afraid of the damage that might be done by the drug. An experiment had been reported that a person's cholesterol level depended on the amount of white sugar ingested. With this information in mind, I decided to eliminate sucrose in my diet as much as I could in our culture while I arbitrarily set my intake of ascorbic acid at five gram per day. Much to my doctor's surprise, my cholesterol level fell from 240 units down to 180 units. I know of similar experiments with similar results. Also I have not had a cold since I have been taking the larger amount of ascorbic acid.

When I learned that a solution of ascorbic acid in a proper concentration would have properties for killing both bacteria and viruses and that the concentration of ascorbic acid in a person's blood could be adjusted to such a concentration by the amount of ascorbic acid ingested, I was led to try to find examples of this use of ascorbic acid in medical literature.

Dr. Robert F. Cathcart of Los Altos, California has found a method of determining the amount of ascorbic acid to be used in any given case. He found that the amount of ascorbic acid to use was just less than the amount which would produce a laxative effect in the patient. Dr. Cathcart reports that he has treated 9000 patients with many kinds of infections and not a single patient treated with ascorbic acid has had to go to a hospital. There are other reports by doctors who have had phenomenal similar effects in which they determined the amount of ascorbic acid by trial.

It was also discovered that most animals produce their own ascorbic acid and that human beings, apes, monkeys, and guinea pigs could not make any at all. The conclusion of the thinking on this problem was that those animals which could not make ascorbic acid had a genetic defect involving one enzyme which was lost millions of years ago because ascorbic acid was so easy to obtain in the foods then available.

In order to obtain the amount of ascorbic acid a human being should have, work was done to find what other animals made for their own use. The result of this study put the value of ascorbic acid at 2.3 to 10 grams per 154 pound man in good health.

It is virtually impossible for any person to obtain this much ascorbic acid per day from ordinary or casual ways. This also indicates that human beings are living with dangerously low levels of ascorbic acid. The above information gives some idea of the reason our cost of health care is so high and our average age of death is so low. This problem is a national disgrace and should be attacked on a national basis. There are two reasons why this should be done.

One reason is that a free supply of ascorbic acid to every person would lower the cost of health care in a major way. The other is that in this age of possible terrorist attacks with chemical and biological agents (bacterial and viral) we are vulnerable because we have not applied and extended the knowledge we do have to the practice of medicine. Any practical approach to the ascorbic acid problem would require the whole prestige and authority of the federal government.

I can only leave the solutions of these problems of the public health and the implementation of corrections to the younger generations. As you can see, I think we can and should work toward a solution. Have I convinced you of this possibility too?

Theodore P. Jorgensen

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